Mar. 15, 2018

Bottom Line It

 

“Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 4:10, 12

In May, I will turn 60 years old. At the risk of sounding cliché, I’ve come a long way, baby.

I constantly deal with the stereotypes our society, most especially the evangelical church, places on women. While we’ve come a long way in the United States, we still have far to go in order to live out God’s original plan for men and women. We are His image bearers.

As I’ve shared before, I am reading through the bible again. I am in the book of 1 Timothy. This morning, I read 1 Timothy 3 concerning leaders in the church. I do not want to waste time debating what the entire chapter means, but I do want to share my personal struggle. The Message (the latest version I am reading) talks about leaders not having a “sharp-tongue.” Other translations talk about self-control and “not malicious talkers.” As I read these words, I once again struggle with how to balance my spiritual gift of prophecy while trying to be the nice girl the Christian world wants to see.

God always brings me back to Jesus, Peter and to Paul. I realize there are many strong men and women throughout biblical history. However, we cannot debate that Christ showed the way and is the Author of our faith. Peter was a dynamo – a man that mellowed with age. Paul was a writer. He and I have that, and personality, in common. Paul wrote the majority of the New Testament. I see these three as shining examples of how all people, all genders, should live a sincere Christian life.

Jesus did not steer clear of relevant subjects. Jesus did not shy away from false religion or misplaced loyalties. Jesus spoke up; at times, vehemently.

Peter learned from his mistakes and refused to back down even in the face of danger risking martyrdom.

Paul spelled it out. Clearly. Paul was great at bottom-lining what he was prompted to say. Many theologians admit that Paul had an “in-your-face” personality and style prior to conversion that certainly continued after his conversion to Christ.

As Paul ended 1 Timothy 3, he calls our attention back to the basics of faith: Christ’s life, Christ’s death, and Christ’s resurrection. Paul always bottom-lined it.

The verses shared at the beginning of this blog are another example of bottom-lining it. Peter and John spoke before the religious elite of their day in Acts 4 when they said, “the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead.” (Emphasis mine.) Another example of bottom-lining it despite the fuse it lit.

So, regardless of which style of teaching or preaching we prefer, we must stay open to the possibility that God uses a variety of personalities and styles to accomplish His work. Obedience requires putting aside the opinions of others to speak when spoken to from the mind, heart, and word of God. We must all yield to God, speak when spoken to, say what He places on our hearts, and accept the consequences of obedience.

Thank you for reading.